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better ideas faster
How to Brainstorm more effectively



David sherwin, frog design




How DesiGn conference / 06.08.10
t: @ cHanGeorDer / e: DksHerwin@msn.com / BloG: cHanGeorDerBloG.com
Brainstorms at inDeX by @boetter / 49915119 cc license share remix on flickr
better ideas faster

quantity breeds quality
from Understanding Comics by scott mccloud — read this!
better ideas faster

quantity plus quality
big ideas, low fidelity
nixie clock by randomskk / 3535050466 cc license share remix on flickr
better ideas faster

quantity plus quality
big ideas, low fidelity
designing your deadlines
just enough ideas
            at tHe very last minute




some other Guy

some otHer conference
proBaBly runninG late
better ideas faster
 identify your
 client’s actual
 problems



 1                 2   3   4
strateGy
what business
problem are
you trying
to solve?
we’d like you
    to create a new
    logo and color
    palette for our
    restaurant…




?
we’d like you
                                                                                        to create a new
                                                                                        logo and color
                                                                                        palette for our
                                                                                        restaurant…




                                                                         why?




stated marketing and design needs are symptoms of larger, systemic business problems.
?

                                                 ?


Business
problems
                                                             ?
            Marketing +
           brand strategy

                                                     ?
                             Design
                            strategy


                                       Tactics           ?               problems live in
                                                                     ?
                                                                         different orbits
                                        ?                                within a client
                                                                 ?       organization.
                                                 ?
?

                                                 ?


Business
problems
                                                             ?
            Marketing +
           brand strategy

                                                     ?
                             Design
                            strategy


                                       Tactics           ?               problems live in
                                                                     ?
                                                                         different orbits
                                        ?                                within a client
                                                                 ?       organization.
                                                 ?
Business proBlem
sales have dropped
20% over this past year.       we’d like you
what should we do?             to create a new
                               logo and color
                               palette for our
                               restaurant…




                           ?
Business proBlem
sales have dropped
20% over this past year.                        we’d like you
what should we do?                              to create a new
                                                logo and color
                                                palette for our
 our service and                                restaurant…
 menu needs to
 be improved?      ?



                                            ?


 we need a              ?
 more effective                         ?
 website to                     ?                 should we
 attract new                                      consider
 customers?                                       search
                       our signage is             engine ads?
                       hard to read—
                       should we try
                       and redo it?
you should
                           be thinking
                           outside the box,
                           but inside
                           the strategy.




BrainstorminG tip #1   !
better ideas faster
     turn those
     problems
     into ideation
     questions


1    2               3   4
    articulation
how many
designers does
it take to screw
in a lightbulb?
sales have dropped
20% over this past year.
what should we do?         not a DesiGn proBlem
Business proBlem
sales have dropped
20% over this past year.
what should we do?                       we want a
                                         new identity
                                         system for
                                         our restaurant.




                                     !


 we need a            !
 more effective
 website to                   !
 attract new
 customers.
                     we need
                     to redo our
                     signage, it’s
                     hard to read.
sales have dropped
20% over this past year.
what should we do?         not a DesiGn proBlem




can you create a
new identity system
for our restaurant?        not a DesiGn proBlem
Business proBlem
sales have dropped
20% over this past year.
what should we do?                       we want a
                                         new identity
                                         system for
                                         our restaurant.



                               ?
                                     !

                      !


                           !
                               what is the essence of this
                               new restaurant identity?
sales have dropped
20% over this past year.
what should we do?         not a DesiGn proBlem




can you create a
new identity system
for our restaurant?        not a DesiGn proBlem




What is the essence
of this new restaurant
identity?                     a DesiGn proBlem!
iDeation Questions

what
metaphors
provide the
appropriate
meaning for
the new
identity?




Articulating a design problem
will suggest related questions
that can be answered by design.
iDeation Questions

what            what emotions
metaphors       would a person
provide the     feel when s/he
appropriate     encounters the
meaning for     new identity?
the new
identity?




Articulating a design problem
will suggest related questions
that can be answered by design.
iDeation Questions

what              what emotions    what styles of   what textures
metaphors         would a person   typography       and graphic
provide the       feel when s/he   would best       elements
appropriate       encounters the   support this     would best
meaning for       new identity?    feeling?         support this
the new                                             feeling?
identity?


what style of     what color       what materials   How does
photography       schemes best     would best       motion—online
or illustration   express the      express the      & in the real
supports the      agreed-upon      meaning &        world—support
meaning you’d     meaning &        emotion in       the meaning     DesiGn
                                                    of this new     eXecution
like to convey?   emotion?         print?
                                                    identity?



Articulating a design problem
will suggest related questions
that can be answered by design.
Business proBlem
sales have dropped
20% over this past year.
what should we do?

                                   what kind of website functionality
                                   would encourage repeat business?


                                        ?
                           ?                   !


 we need a            !
 more effective
 website to                    !
 attract new
 customers.
Starting with the
                           right questions
                           will steer you
                           towards the
                           right answers—
                           by design.




BrainstorminG tip #2   !
better ideas faster
           Brainstorm
           using ideation
           questions and
           timeboxing


1    2     3                4
          iDeation
what is
timeboxing?
short, structured sprints to reach
stated ideation goals
how timeboxing works
 20 mins




  Brain-
  storm
 BiG iDeas
David sherwin / challenge: technoyoga / time limit: 120 min / this page: first 3 timeboxes
how timeboxing works
 20 mins      40 mins




             Determine
                app
              content




  Brain-
  storm      evaluate
 BiG iDeas
David sherwin / challenge: technoyoga / time limit: 120 min / this page: first 3 timeboxes
how timeboxing works
 20 mins      40 mins    60 mins   80 mins    100 mins   120 mins



                                                           final
                                                          clean
                                                         sketcHes




                                   refineD     visual
                                    wire-      DesiGn    evaluate
                                   frames     tHinkinG




             Determine   rouGH
                app       wire-    evaluate
              content    frames




  Brain-
  storm      evaluate
 BiG iDeas
Better Ideas Faster: How to Brainstorm More Effectively
practice
makes
permanent
HiGHer       why timeboxing works

                                                                   flow
                   anXiety                                        cHannel




                                                                               diagram from flow: the psychology of optimal experience by mihaly csikszentmihalyi
CHALLENGES




                    Brain-     evaluate   Determine
                    storm                    app
                   BiG iDeas               content




                 reaD
                                                               BoreDom
               cHallenGe
low




             low                                      SKILLS          HiGHer
HiGHer       why timeboxing works
                                                                     visual
                                                                     DesiGn
                                                                                   flow
                   anXiety                                                        cHannel




                                                                                               diagram from flow: the psychology of optimal experience by mihaly csikszentmihalyi
                                            rouGH         evaluate   refineD
                                          wireframes                  wire-
                                                                     frames
CHALLENGES




                    Brain-     evaluate    Determine
                    storm                     app
                   BiG iDeas                content




                 reaD
                                                                               BoreDom
               cHallenGe
low




             low                                       SKILLS                         HiGHer
the more time
                           you provide
                           yourself during
                           a brainstorm, the
                           less likely you’ll
                           be able to focus.




BrainstorminG tip #3   !
timeboxing +
brainstorming
methods
using new and unusual brainstorming methods
in timeboxes prompts novel ideas
mind
mapping
visualizing connections between
seemingly disparate pieces of information
sean Baker, pictoric, and lenny vella, ’peeps creative / challenge: free association / time limit: 60 min
sean Baker, pictoric, and lenny vella, ’peeps creative / challenge: free association / time limit: 60 min
word
listing
an alternate type of mind map
with more structure and faster results
mark notermann / challenge: out of Gamut / time limit: 60 min
mark notermann / challenge: out of Gamut / time limit: 60 min
picture
association
collaging together found images
to spark new design ideas
Jarred elrod / challenge: never tear us apart / time limit: 60 min
brutethink

forcing connections between your area
of focus and a totally unrelated word
matt mcelvogue, frog design / sketched this last time i presented this talk
idea
inversion
taking an idea and envisioning
its exact opposite—this isn’t easy!
Jessica thrasher / challenge: opposites attract / time limit: 60 min
freeform
sketching
drawing pictures, words, and layout ideas
in an free-form, associative way
meta newhouse, newhouse Design / challenge: one line logo / time limit: 30 min
meta newhouse, newhouse Design / challenge: one line logo / time limit: 30 min
role
playing
act out how a product, service, or event
would influence consumer behavior
Donnie Dinch, meg Doyle, claire kohler, mark notermann / challenge: touch screen of Deaf rock / time limit: 60 min
deconstruction

tear apart the bits and pieces that make up an
existing design, then quickly reassemble them
David sherwin / challenge: i’m feeling really, really lucky / time limit: 60 min
future-
casting
remove all reality constraints, working backward
from what’s impossible to what’s possible
mark notermann / challenge: future-casting / time limit: 60 min
10x10
sketching in one hour at least one hundred doodles,
which are then analyzed for novel ideas
David sherwin / challenge: 10x10 / time limit: 60 min
By setting
                           impossible goals,
                           you’re more likely
                           to create ideas
                           that are truly
                           unexpected.




BrainstorminG tip #4   !
30 days
in 30 minutes
a method for learning to timebox as a team
three timeboxes: 8 minutes ideation / 2 minutes critique
one person is “the client,” everyone else designs
Donnie Dinch, meg Doyle, claire kohler, mark notermann / challenge: storybook ending / time limit: 30 min
Donnie Dinch, meg Doyle, claire kohler, mark notermann / challenge: storybook ending / time limit: 30 min
better ideas faster
                Connect
                existing ideas
                to discover
                better ones


1    2    3     4
               syntHesis
idea
clustering
group and merge ideas, seeing which ones
enhance the others around them
scamper
Substitute something
Combine it with something else
Adapt something to it
Modify or magnify it
Put it to some other use
Eliminate something
Reverse or rearrange it

—alex osborn & Bob eberle
Don’t fall in love
                           with your first
                           ideas. act like
                           you’re speed
                           dating until you
                           run out of time.




BrainstorminG tip #5   !
better ideas faster
best practices
Capture big ideas
     with simple tools first.
     as the fidelity of an idea
     increases, you’re not brainstorming.
     you’re executing a design.




almost a year of post-it notes
from Dawn lozzi’s desk at
frog design—can you guess
how many are here?
Keep a toolkit for your
daily sketching needs.
all you need is a pencil and
an eraser, but a sharpie or two
doesn’t hurt…




this toolkit is from leah Buley at adaptive path.
the blue pencil can be used for reference sketching,
then photocopied without showing up. the red and
warm gray markers are good for highlights.
Express your ideas in ways
that travel beyond the page.

sing, dance, paint, act—use motion
to create new perspectives on plain
old words and pictures.




Designer scott scheff and i created a 30-second commercial for a fictional
record store in nyc—with a flip HD camera and a glue-huffing puppet oD’ing
while listening to the pixies’ “wave of mutilation.” Deadline: 30 minutes.
Write it, then draw it. (Or vice versa.)
Get it all down. pictures hold more information—and
possible interpretations—than anything ever said out loud.

graphic facilitation by emily chang / 2591901494 share + remix cc on flickr
Sketch like a designer,
                                               not like an artist.
                                               you can sketch a comp
                                               in a matter of a minute
                                               or two that adequately
                                               expresses any design idea.
                                               (not the execution!)

Designer Jake rae created this sketch in a
few minutes for a in-class challenge. is any
other information necessary to convey what
the execution would require?
parting
thoughts
intuition
deepens
with practice
intuition doesn’t
come from
rote repetition
intuition
fuels great
design
“plans are no substitute for the real
 thing… Process is a means to an end.
 our purpose is to create.”
 —mark rolston, frog design
Questions?
David sherwin
dksherwin@msn.com
@changeorder

slides for this talk
will be posted to
changeorderblog.com




Creative Workshop
is out november 2010
from How Design press

Better ideas faster | ©2010 David sherwin
all rights reserved.

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Better Ideas Faster: How to Brainstorm More Effectively

  • 1. better ideas faster How to Brainstorm more effectively David sherwin, frog design How DesiGn conference / 06.08.10 t: @ cHanGeorDer / e: DksHerwin@msn.com / BloG: cHanGeorDerBloG.com
  • 2. Brainstorms at inDeX by @boetter / 49915119 cc license share remix on flickr
  • 4. from Understanding Comics by scott mccloud — read this!
  • 5. better ideas faster quantity plus quality big ideas, low fidelity
  • 6. nixie clock by randomskk / 3535050466 cc license share remix on flickr
  • 7. better ideas faster quantity plus quality big ideas, low fidelity designing your deadlines
  • 8. just enough ideas at tHe very last minute some other Guy some otHer conference proBaBly runninG late
  • 9. better ideas faster identify your client’s actual problems 1 2 3 4 strateGy
  • 10. what business problem are you trying to solve?
  • 11. we’d like you to create a new logo and color palette for our restaurant… ?
  • 12. we’d like you to create a new logo and color palette for our restaurant… why? stated marketing and design needs are symptoms of larger, systemic business problems.
  • 13. ? ? Business problems ? Marketing + brand strategy ? Design strategy Tactics ? problems live in ? different orbits ? within a client ? organization. ?
  • 14. ? ? Business problems ? Marketing + brand strategy ? Design strategy Tactics ? problems live in ? different orbits ? within a client ? organization. ?
  • 15. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. we’d like you what should we do? to create a new logo and color palette for our restaurant… ?
  • 16. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. we’d like you what should we do? to create a new logo and color palette for our our service and restaurant… menu needs to be improved? ? ? we need a ? more effective ? website to ? should we attract new consider customers? search our signage is engine ads? hard to read— should we try and redo it?
  • 17. you should be thinking outside the box, but inside the strategy. BrainstorminG tip #1 !
  • 18. better ideas faster turn those problems into ideation questions 1 2 3 4 articulation
  • 19. how many designers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
  • 20. sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? not a DesiGn proBlem
  • 21. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? we want a new identity system for our restaurant. ! we need a ! more effective website to ! attract new customers. we need to redo our signage, it’s hard to read.
  • 22. sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? not a DesiGn proBlem can you create a new identity system for our restaurant? not a DesiGn proBlem
  • 23. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? we want a new identity system for our restaurant. ? ! ! ! what is the essence of this new restaurant identity?
  • 24. sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? not a DesiGn proBlem can you create a new identity system for our restaurant? not a DesiGn proBlem What is the essence of this new restaurant identity? a DesiGn proBlem!
  • 25. iDeation Questions what metaphors provide the appropriate meaning for the new identity? Articulating a design problem will suggest related questions that can be answered by design.
  • 26. iDeation Questions what what emotions metaphors would a person provide the feel when s/he appropriate encounters the meaning for new identity? the new identity? Articulating a design problem will suggest related questions that can be answered by design.
  • 27. iDeation Questions what what emotions what styles of what textures metaphors would a person typography and graphic provide the feel when s/he would best elements appropriate encounters the support this would best meaning for new identity? feeling? support this the new feeling? identity? what style of what color what materials How does photography schemes best would best motion—online or illustration express the express the & in the real supports the agreed-upon meaning & world—support meaning you’d meaning & emotion in the meaning DesiGn of this new eXecution like to convey? emotion? print? identity? Articulating a design problem will suggest related questions that can be answered by design.
  • 28. Business proBlem sales have dropped 20% over this past year. what should we do? what kind of website functionality would encourage repeat business? ? ? ! we need a ! more effective website to ! attract new customers.
  • 29. Starting with the right questions will steer you towards the right answers— by design. BrainstorminG tip #2 !
  • 30. better ideas faster Brainstorm using ideation questions and timeboxing 1 2 3 4 iDeation
  • 31. what is timeboxing? short, structured sprints to reach stated ideation goals
  • 32. how timeboxing works 20 mins Brain- storm BiG iDeas
  • 33. David sherwin / challenge: technoyoga / time limit: 120 min / this page: first 3 timeboxes
  • 34. how timeboxing works 20 mins 40 mins Determine app content Brain- storm evaluate BiG iDeas
  • 35. David sherwin / challenge: technoyoga / time limit: 120 min / this page: first 3 timeboxes
  • 36. how timeboxing works 20 mins 40 mins 60 mins 80 mins 100 mins 120 mins final clean sketcHes refineD visual wire- DesiGn evaluate frames tHinkinG Determine rouGH app wire- evaluate content frames Brain- storm evaluate BiG iDeas
  • 39. HiGHer why timeboxing works flow anXiety cHannel diagram from flow: the psychology of optimal experience by mihaly csikszentmihalyi CHALLENGES Brain- evaluate Determine storm app BiG iDeas content reaD BoreDom cHallenGe low low SKILLS HiGHer
  • 40. HiGHer why timeboxing works visual DesiGn flow anXiety cHannel diagram from flow: the psychology of optimal experience by mihaly csikszentmihalyi rouGH evaluate refineD wireframes wire- frames CHALLENGES Brain- evaluate Determine storm app BiG iDeas content reaD BoreDom cHallenGe low low SKILLS HiGHer
  • 41. the more time you provide yourself during a brainstorm, the less likely you’ll be able to focus. BrainstorminG tip #3 !
  • 42. timeboxing + brainstorming methods using new and unusual brainstorming methods in timeboxes prompts novel ideas
  • 44. sean Baker, pictoric, and lenny vella, ’peeps creative / challenge: free association / time limit: 60 min
  • 45. sean Baker, pictoric, and lenny vella, ’peeps creative / challenge: free association / time limit: 60 min
  • 46. word listing an alternate type of mind map with more structure and faster results
  • 47. mark notermann / challenge: out of Gamut / time limit: 60 min
  • 48. mark notermann / challenge: out of Gamut / time limit: 60 min
  • 49. picture association collaging together found images to spark new design ideas
  • 50. Jarred elrod / challenge: never tear us apart / time limit: 60 min
  • 51. brutethink forcing connections between your area of focus and a totally unrelated word
  • 52. matt mcelvogue, frog design / sketched this last time i presented this talk
  • 53. idea inversion taking an idea and envisioning its exact opposite—this isn’t easy!
  • 54. Jessica thrasher / challenge: opposites attract / time limit: 60 min
  • 55. freeform sketching drawing pictures, words, and layout ideas in an free-form, associative way
  • 56. meta newhouse, newhouse Design / challenge: one line logo / time limit: 30 min
  • 57. meta newhouse, newhouse Design / challenge: one line logo / time limit: 30 min
  • 58. role playing act out how a product, service, or event would influence consumer behavior
  • 59. Donnie Dinch, meg Doyle, claire kohler, mark notermann / challenge: touch screen of Deaf rock / time limit: 60 min
  • 60. deconstruction tear apart the bits and pieces that make up an existing design, then quickly reassemble them
  • 61. David sherwin / challenge: i’m feeling really, really lucky / time limit: 60 min
  • 62. future- casting remove all reality constraints, working backward from what’s impossible to what’s possible
  • 63. mark notermann / challenge: future-casting / time limit: 60 min
  • 64. 10x10 sketching in one hour at least one hundred doodles, which are then analyzed for novel ideas
  • 65. David sherwin / challenge: 10x10 / time limit: 60 min
  • 66. By setting impossible goals, you’re more likely to create ideas that are truly unexpected. BrainstorminG tip #4 !
  • 67. 30 days in 30 minutes a method for learning to timebox as a team three timeboxes: 8 minutes ideation / 2 minutes critique one person is “the client,” everyone else designs
  • 68. Donnie Dinch, meg Doyle, claire kohler, mark notermann / challenge: storybook ending / time limit: 30 min
  • 69. Donnie Dinch, meg Doyle, claire kohler, mark notermann / challenge: storybook ending / time limit: 30 min
  • 70. better ideas faster Connect existing ideas to discover better ones 1 2 3 4 syntHesis
  • 71. idea clustering group and merge ideas, seeing which ones enhance the others around them
  • 72. scamper Substitute something Combine it with something else Adapt something to it Modify or magnify it Put it to some other use Eliminate something Reverse or rearrange it —alex osborn & Bob eberle
  • 73. Don’t fall in love with your first ideas. act like you’re speed dating until you run out of time. BrainstorminG tip #5 !
  • 75. Capture big ideas with simple tools first. as the fidelity of an idea increases, you’re not brainstorming. you’re executing a design. almost a year of post-it notes from Dawn lozzi’s desk at frog design—can you guess how many are here?
  • 76. Keep a toolkit for your daily sketching needs. all you need is a pencil and an eraser, but a sharpie or two doesn’t hurt… this toolkit is from leah Buley at adaptive path. the blue pencil can be used for reference sketching, then photocopied without showing up. the red and warm gray markers are good for highlights.
  • 77. Express your ideas in ways that travel beyond the page. sing, dance, paint, act—use motion to create new perspectives on plain old words and pictures. Designer scott scheff and i created a 30-second commercial for a fictional record store in nyc—with a flip HD camera and a glue-huffing puppet oD’ing while listening to the pixies’ “wave of mutilation.” Deadline: 30 minutes.
  • 78. Write it, then draw it. (Or vice versa.) Get it all down. pictures hold more information—and possible interpretations—than anything ever said out loud. graphic facilitation by emily chang / 2591901494 share + remix cc on flickr
  • 79. Sketch like a designer, not like an artist. you can sketch a comp in a matter of a minute or two that adequately expresses any design idea. (not the execution!) Designer Jake rae created this sketch in a few minutes for a in-class challenge. is any other information necessary to convey what the execution would require?
  • 84. “plans are no substitute for the real thing… Process is a means to an end. our purpose is to create.” —mark rolston, frog design
  • 85. Questions? David sherwin dksherwin@msn.com @changeorder slides for this talk will be posted to changeorderblog.com Creative Workshop is out november 2010 from How Design press Better ideas faster | ©2010 David sherwin all rights reserved.